Habitat Restoration at Seneca Bluffs

Site Location and History

Seneca Bluff’s Location on the Buffalo River

The Seneca Bluffs Natural Habitat Park is located near the Seneca Street Bridge, between Elk Street and Avon Place. It consists of approximately 15 acres of riparian floodplain located in a heavily urbanized area along the Buffalo River.  Historically, the site had mixed use including farming.

Seneca Bluffs was identified in 1994 as one of five unique and critical habitat areas in need of protection. The site provides habitat for a wide variety of flora and fauna, and is part of a larger wildlife corridor along the river. Seneca Bluffs is also to become part of the future Buffalo River Greenway Trail. Seneca Bluffs also is less than 2 miles from Tifft Nature Preserve and is located within the Great Lakes migratory bird flyway.

Habitat types include a floodplain island, seasonally flooded wetland, forested floodplain, upland meadow, and 2500 linear feet of shoreline. A large diversity of migratory birds, wading birds, and waterfowl make use of the site. Problems include the domination of ~85% of the site by invasive and non-native plants and areas of the shoreline are actively eroding.

Initial habitat restoration activities were completed by Erie County DEP in 2004 which consisted of:  debris removal and site re-grading, installation of a native warm season grass meadow, upland riparian, seasonal aquatic depression, and installation of a gravel trail and a parking area.

Project Goals:

Phragmites and knotweed are prevalent on the site.

In 2010, Waterkeeper received a grant from the US Environmental Protection Agency to complete additional habitat restoration projects. Goals for this project are:

1. Completion of Habitat Restoration Activities

  • Management and removal of invasive species
  • Planting native trees, shrubs, and vegetation for fish and wildlife habitat
  • Identification and installation of bioengineering techniques along area(s) of eroding shoreline.
  • Installation of a pollinator conservation area using native vegetation

2. Completion of the Seneca Bluffs Master Habitat Restoration Plan

  • Invasive Species Management
  • Site Maintenance and Mowing Schedules

    An example of bank erosion at the Seneca Bluffs Site

  • Restoration Projects
  • Grow-Out Projections showing
  • Project Funding Sources and Stakeholders

3. Development of a Habitat Restoration Monitoring Plan and Monitoring Protocols

  • The monitoring plan must focus on monitoring protocol(s) that will monitor the success of the habitat restoration activities that will be completed within the scope of work for this project (invasive species controls, planting, bioengineering installation etc).

Buffalo Niagara Waterkeeper is looking for a consultant to develop plans for shoreline restoration, invasive species management, long-term site management, and quality assurance. Design/Engineering firms with habitat restoration experience are invited to respond to our request for proposals. For more information, click here.


Project Progress

Date Task
June, 2010 Grant awarded from USEPA
June, 2010 – July 2011 Project Planning and QAPP development
August 8-12, 2011 Waterkeeper worked in partnership with the Erie County Sheriffs Action Corps program to remove 3.83 tons of knotweed from the site.
September 2011 Quality Assurance Project Plan approved by USEPA
September 14 & October 6, 2011 Herbicide was applied by a trained applicator to cut areas of knotweed.
January 17, 2012 Request for Proposals issued, looking for a consultant to develop plans for planting, invasive species management, long-term site management, and quality assurance. For more information, click here.